On 11 September 1893, at the World’s Parliament of Religions in Chicago, Swami Vivekananda addressed the audience by uttering these simple yet powerful words, “Sisters and brothers of America” for which he received a thunderous applause. At a time when bigotry, fanaticism, discrimination and violence were prevalent, Swami’s sole purpose was to unite humanity for peace and compassion on Earth. Not only did he want to introduce yoga and Vedanta philosophy to the west, he also advocated the emancipation of the women in India and worked towards ending the rampant caste system that was prevalent at the time.
The word “Niyama” can be translated as “positive duties” or “observances” and are advocated as healthy habits for living a spiritual life. Traditionally the Niyamas are seen as an inward practice, concerned with our inner reality. However, this inner reality can affect our outer world too. There are a total of 5 Niyamas composed by Pantanjali.
The next Yama is the practice of Asteya, or non-stealing. The act of stealing is the simple result of mankind’s made up desires that increase our greeds and cravings. The root cause of this is the thoughts of “I’m not good enough” which can further translate to “I don’t have enough”. This lack of faith in ourselves to generate what we need increases our awareness of fulfilling whatever “lack” we assume to be present.
When we study how the Yamas can influence our everyday lives, on the mat and off the mat, we can see how this outward action can really alter our internal structures. The Sanskrit word “Yama” translates to “restraint”, “moral discipline”, and “moral vow”. These vows are applicable to every single human being at every single part of the world. These vows, or moral life codes, is concerned with how to peacefully and righteously interact with the world around us, but further influence how we act towards ourselves.
International yoga day! It is the day that celebrates a practice and lifestyle that signifies self love, being one with the divine and union. Unity of the mind, body and spirit through ancient teachings that guide our physical movement (asana), while connecting with the breath (pranayama) to create even flow. Yoga truly is just the essence in which we make the changes we desire to have in our lives.
January 12th is celebrated as National Youth Day in India on the birthday of Swami Vivekananda. Swami Vivekananda's lectures and writings have inspired people worldwide and this day aims to motivate the youths of the country through the way of his life and ideas. The Government of India had quoted, “The philosophy of Swamiji and the ideals for which he lived and worked could be a great source of inspiration for the Indian Youth.”
December 3 is proclaimed as the 'International Day of people with Disability' by the General Assembly of UN since 1992. Each year the UN announces a theme to observe the day. The theme for this year is 'Transformation towards sustainable and resilient society for all'. The overarching principle of this theme is to 'leave no one behind' and empower people with disability to be active contributors of society. It is based on the transformative changes envisaged.
National Education day is celebrated every year on November 11 as the birth anniversary of independent India’s first Education Minister and freedom fighter Maulana Abdul Kalam Azad. Maulana Azad’s main focus was quality education including primary education, girl’s education, technical education and more. The well-known education institutes in India like the first IIT, IISc, UGC were planned under his tenure. The major cultural and literary academies of Sangeet Natak Academy, Lalit Kala Academy, Sahitya Academy, Indian Council for Cultural Relations were established by him.
Chris Christie, the American politician, declared the August month as vision and learning month for kids. The purpose of this observance is to help increase awareness among parents and educators about undiagnosed or misdiagnosed vision problems.
The international community celebrates World Humanitarian Day since 19th August 2009, to pay tribute to the people who have lost their lives and made sacrifice in 2003 bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad, Iraq which killed 22 people, including Sergio Vieira de Mello, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. This day was established by the United Nations General Assembly to recognize Sergio and thousands like him who work for humanitarian causes and make world a better place!
It's not just a country, it's an emotion. We call it "Bharat Mata". A mother loves us and takes care of us, and she also cultivates the ethical and divine qualities within us.
In the Dwapara Yuga, you came to us, and divined the Bhagavad Gita, the great treatise of Yoga.
Till now in the Kali Yuga, we are mesmerized by your form, your thought, your action. The stories of your Leelas have been passed down from one generation to the next, through storytelling under banyan trees, to enacted plays, and even TV series and movies. Regardless of religious background, all Indians are familiar with the stories of Lord Krishna.
Indeed, the youth play an important role in nation building. Youth are the leaders of tomorrow, as well as the participants in the change that is taking place today. They are a crucial part of development of a society.
This is a very special day as it falls on the Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere, a wonderful time to recollect the gifts of the sun as well as the entire universe. At the suggestion of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, June 21st was declared International Yoga Day in 2014 by the United Nations General Assembly, promoting yoga’s amazing impacts on the mind and body. International Yoga Day is recognized and celebrated in over 170 countries.